I hiked this during the summer time with some of my trail crew family while working near there this summer. we started from Mumford Meadows on Swift Creek Trail. It is a bit of an uphill but totally worth it. We hit all 4 lakes starting with Deer and ending with Luella, the best way otherwise you're in for some brutal uphill. We camped at Diamond but the camping area at Summit is far better. If you're into peaking, Siligo is super easy to bag. There's somewhat of a trail that leads to it before descending down to Summit lake and it provides a breath taking view.
We backpacked to Summit Lake with three families this summer starting at the Long Canyon trailhead. We had five kids ranging from age 8-11 years old and a dog. I must say it was well worth the heinous journey - approximately 7 miles to Summit Lake and 4000 feet of elevation. The meadows, the flora, the change in geology from one moment to the next phenomenal. The kids all made it to camp with some daylight to spare. Our second day we hiked the Four Lakes Loop in the clockwise direction- another 5-6 miles and 2500 feet of climbing. The views and Lakes -Summit, Diamond, Luella, and Deer outstanding! This is not a trip for the weary. If you bring kids they need to be fit and prepared for an uphill endless battle. The climbs are steep and rocky. The last mile or two a continual rocky staircase. Keep your packs light and just enjoy the trek. A trip well worth the effort. Would go back in a heart beat! Enjoy!
THIS hike takes 5 miles to reach the summit before it starts, with about 3,000' elevation gain!
I wish I would have known that before attempting it. I thought this would be a day hike. We didn't make it to even the 1st lake after the ascent because we didn't want to trek down too late, if we would have given this an early start we would have made it to at least see one. Most people hike the 4 lakes loop trail and camp overnight for a day or 3.
The wildflowers on the way up were gorgeous and the views of Shasta were worthwhile. It is quite a climb to reach the summit and not for the faint of heart. I can't only imagine with a few nights provisions it would be a very good workout.
Although we didn't make it all the way to L Lake, we did hike to Canyon Creek Lakes, and it was absolutely gorgeous! The holiday weekend made it a bit busier than I suspect it normally is, but due to the length of the trail, it didn't feel unbearably crowded. After reading about the impressiveness of the lower falls on summitpost.org, we decided to journey through the brush, and it was absolutely worth the scratches I got on my legs. We ended up setting up camp atop a boulder overlooking the falls (See photo). You can find this old trail at the top of a set of switchbacks, where a "TRAIL" sign will point you to the right; the falls are to the left, you can hear them roaring. The trail is generally well maintained, at least as far as we went. It was quite hot in places where the lush vegetation was replaced with steep granite that seemed to magnify the hot summer sun, and this coupled with the incline will certainly leave you sweating; however, I highly recommend the trail for the surrounding beauty, especially as a good multi-day hike, where you could easily spend as little as 2 or as many as 5 days exploring the area.
Highly recommended in Late June or early July. The trail head is easily accessible and there is ample parking. The first couple miles take you through beautiful pine forest before you emerge into the upper canyon. To the south you will see exposed red rocks, while to the north you will see exposed white granite - it almost feels like you are hiking in two canyons at once. There is a creek crossing where the trail can be a little tricky to follow but for the most part the trail is well-marked and well-maintained. At the top of the trail you will reach Bee Tree Gap and a view of Siligo Meadows. Turning south you have the option to proceed toward Echo Lake and turning North you will proceed to Deer Creek Pass and the beginning of the Four Lakes Loop. Outstanding scenery!
Remember to pack plenty of water or (better still) bring a water filter, as there is plenty to see, but the hike can be somewhat strenuous for novice to intermediate hikers.
Photo Album: http://imgur.com/a/xctqt
NOTE: As this site often does, multiple trails are joined under a single name. Long Canyon Trail is a 5.2 mile trial from Long Canyon Trail Head to Deer Creek Pass. The total distance of the trail as advertised here of 13+ miles include the Four Lakes Loop. Other sites will reference these as separate trails.
Ok so to start..the road is a fairly dangerous one to get to the trail head. The ranger will tell you it's 4 miles..it's not. It's 12+ to get to the trailhead. Keep going and you'll pass 1 lane or less cliff side and other cars. Once you get to the trail it's very clear. It was in the 50-60s all day and 20s at night the colors were great and fires are allowed so bring some shovels and fuel! Waterfalls were flowing too! Have a great time!
Glad when I finally got up here it wasn't the weekend cuz I heard it can get crowded. We had a nice camp-site at Emerald for a night, then day-hiked up to Sapphire & Mirror Lakes. Quite a scramble to Mirror, but it was spectacular!
This trail was simply an eye opener as far as what backpacking can really be! Four ice cold lakes tucked into a gorgeous Alps like setting was more than a guy and his Dad could ask for. Hit it during the week and you will have it all to yourself. Diamond Lake on the other side of Siligo peak was like something out of a story book. Perfect little camp right under a towering pine by the lakes edge. Its quite a hike up to the loop but well worth it. A word of caution about the long canyon approach. The elevation gain is rough on the last third of the trail so be ready for a real trial on your legs.